11 MAR 2001 General News

Caines keeps British 400 tradition going strong


By IAAF Correspondent

11 March 2001 - Lisbon - Tradition can be a difficult opponent but Daniel Caines proved in the Atlantico Pavilion arena today that nothing stands in his way.

At 21, Caines is a thrilling arrival on the 400 metres scene and the British star completed a remarkable year by winning the World Indoor title with the type of performance which has dominated his season--leading all the way.

The law graduate from Birmingham succeeded Welshman Jamie Baulch as the 400m champion and followed in the impressive line of Britons who have excelled at this distance, from double European champion Roger Black to Iwan Thomas, the current European, Commonwealth and World Cup title-holder.

"We have a fantastic reputation at this distance and I am delighted to be able to carry it on," said Caines. "I don't go into races thinking about what others have done before me but it is great to join them on the champions' list."

Caines has emerged onto the world class 400m stage in the past 13 months, winning the British indoor gold last winter, making no mark at the European Indoors before reaching the semi-finals at the Olympic Games.

But this winter, having completed his studies, he is concentrating full-time on athletics and the result was a grade A pass mark as he controlled this 400m final.

He has not lost a race this indoor season, based on the foundation of being able to dominate from the start.

Even with Milton Campbell, the 1999 silver medallist in the field, Caines was away in style and at the break at 170m, maintained the lead.

American Campbell, who was third behind Jamaica's Danny McFarlane with 70m to go, switched to the outside but Caines, sensing the challenge, increased his speed to win in 46.40 seconds.

Campbell was second in 46.45 with McFarlane third in 46.74.

Baulch had failed to make the British team, such is the standard which Caines has set this winter and the new champion added: "It was a shame Jamie was not here but I am delighted with my run.

"I keep having to pinch myself to see if what has happened to me over the past year is real. It is like being in a fantasy.

"I now aim to move on from this in the summer."

With America's double Olympic champion Michael Johnson retiring this year and not planning to run at the World Championships in Edmonton in August, Caines added: "If he was there, it would raise everyone's performance. But without him, the event is now so wide open and I think I am better outdoors than in because of my long stride."

He was born to be an athlete. His mother Blondelle Thompson is the former British 100m hurdles champion, she is now his agent and his father Joe, a former British junior 400m runner, is his coach.

"I have so much to thank them for," added Caines who then revealed that, on his mother's advice, he regularly has Porridge for breakfast as part of his winning diet.

"It sets me up for the day with all its goodness," he said. "It is one of the reasons behind this win."

Which he served up in style.